Geology of the Chinese nuclear test site near Lop Nor, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China
The Chinese underground nuclear test site in the Kuruktag and Kyzyltag mountains of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of northwest China, is the location of sixteen underground tests that occurred between 1969 and 1992. The largest test to date, conducted on 21 May 1992, had a reported yield of about one megaton. Geophysical properties of the rocks and a large-scale geologic map of part of the test area were published by the Chinese in 1986 and 1987 and are the first site-specific data available for this test site. In areas of low relief, underground nuclear testing has occurred below the water table, in shafts drilled vertically into dense, low porosity Paleozoic granitic and metasedimentary rocks. Additional testing in areas of more rugged terrain has occurred in horizontal tunnels, probably above the water table. At least one of these tunnels was driven into granite. The upper 50 m of the rock in the area of the vertical tests is weathered and fractured; these conditions have been shown to influence the magnitude of the disturbance of the land surface after a nuclear explosion. These descriptions suggest hard rock coupling at depth and a closer resemblance to the former Soviet test site in eastern Kazakhstan than to the U.S. test site in Nevada.
|Geology of the Chinese nuclear test site near Lop Nor, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China
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